Compiled by California Outdoors Hall of Fame member Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, who guides in the greater Fresno area and holds the striper record at Millerton Lake.
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Lake Isabella trout and catfish bites good, and Kaweah bass on topwater Copes Tackle reported. Don Pedro trout and bass hitting, Monte Smith said. New Melones trout and bass active, Kyle Wise reported. San Luis stripers still feeding, Michael Crayne said. Delta stripers and sturgeon lead the action, Alan Fong reported.
Striper 2 Catfish 3
Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild reported, “Very slow action in the northern section of the aqueduct as the water is raging at the headgates. The gates are blowing wide open. I haven’t even seen any shad as of yet, and I don’t know where the shad are with all of the fast water. If the shad are not around, it is going to make for a tough fall as the stripers focus on the shad when they are breaking the surface. I caught a striper, a catfish, and a largemouth bass, all on lures, but the action was very slow for everyone.”
Striperz Gone Wild’s Three-Year Anniversary ‘Fall Classic’ Striper Derby is 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Hilldale Bridge with a BBQ, 50/50 raffle, and prizes in the adult and youth divisions. They are also helping with the upcoming City of Gustine Kid’s Derby at the Schmidt Duck Pond on Sept. 30.
In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported, “The southern section of the aqueduct has consistently produced for all species over the last several months, but the action slowed a bit last week. Striped bass ate split-shot garlic nightcrawlers, cut baits, live minnows, or lugworms tossed right into the current after the gates. Jerkbaits, Rat-L-Traps, or flukes are working during the cooler parts of the day. Catfish are taken on Triple S Dip Bait, fresh shrimp, or cut baits off the bottom on the Carolina rig. Bass are taken on 4-inch plastic worms in various colors on the drop-shot in slower moving water. Eddies and outtake grates have been a good place to look for largemouth. There is an early morning topwater bite with Poppers.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket, Bakersfield (661) 833-8657.
Eastman Lake/Hensley Lake
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Eastman is kicking out a few largemouth bass on swimbaits, but the bite remains very tough. Tas Moua of 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle said, “There are large schools of bluegill and crappie in the lake, and the bass are feeding heavily on the panfish. The bluegill and crappie are around the rockpiles.” Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “The water is starting to clear up, and spoons, Senkos, or lipless crankbaits have also been effective. Hensley is producing a few bass in the 1- to 2-pound range, but you have to put in time and effort.” Eastman dropped just over a foot to 552.05 feet in elevation and 63% with Hensley dropping 6 feet to 499.50 feet in elevation and 42% as water releases have begun.
Call: Eastman Lake (559) 89-3255; Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
At Don Pedro, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing is also targeting rainbows as the kokanee action has hit the wall.
“These are quality rainbows from 2.5 to 3 pounds, and they are clean without copepods,” Smith said. “ I just put out two downriggers on a scouting trip, and we found the rainbows at 65 feet, keeping only one that was bleeding. This fish was stuffed full of 1-inch shad, and although we marked bait as deep as 90 feet, the majority of bait was around the 60-foot mark. We marked fish deeper, but with only two downriggers out, I stayed higher in the water column. I think the next few months will produce some quality king salmon. They have been coming out of the deep water to feed over the past month. Blue Oaks is back on the regular ramp, but there is still a 5 MPH zone from Blue Oaks to Fleming Meadows. They are moving some of the houseboats from their temporary location back to Moccasin, and there are spots you can now fish within the buoy line.”
“It is a matter of searching around and finding willing fish. The Tuolumne River arm is open, giving boaters access to the entire lake. There is still some floating driftwood in the upper river, and there are no services yet at Moccasin. The lake dropped 2.5 feet to 814.42 feet in elevation and 90%.” Updates on the launch ramp are available at https://www.donpedrolake.com/.
Call: Monte Smith, Gold Country Sport Fishing (209) 581-4734; Kyle Wise, Head Hunter Guide Service (209) 531-3966; Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Fishing (559) 691-7008
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3
The lake rose about six inches to 2,599.23 feet in elevation and 88% even though the flows in the North Fork at Kernville are only 84 cfs. The releases out of the lake are holding steady at 2825 cfs at First Point. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported trout continue to be the hot ticket here with reports of fish to 5 pounds coming on the troll with Flicker Shad, Rapalas, or Tasmanian Devils on 4 to 5 colors of leadcore near the the Dam and in the North Fork. Spinners, Kastmasters, Thomas Bouyants have been scoring limits.
The bass still appear to be scattered around the lake and at different depths. Crappie are found deep near structure in 20 feet of water with live shiners and minijigs with the best action in the South Fork. Catfishing remains solid with Triple S Dip Bait, shad, or mackerel. At Buena Vista, Cope’s reported ‘hit or miss’ with some crappie limits and decent bass fishing while others are getting skunked.
The bass are holding tight to the cattails and other submerged vegetation, and a weedless presentation is necessary. Plastics on a Texas-rig, weightless Senkos, or topwater frogs flipped into the tules are effective. Crappie are found with live minnows or small swimbaits over rocky structure and near brush while catfishing is best with Triple S Dip bait or cut bait. In the upper Kern River, Copes reported ideal flows, and the best action is from Riverside Park in Kernville up to the Powerhouse with spinners, minijigs, or salmon eggs. Along the 20-mile stretch, fly anglers have scored trout with caddis. The upper Kern was stocked last week at Section 4, Powerhouse #3 to Riverside Park in Kernville, and Section 5, Fairview Dam to Lazy River Lodge. In the lower Kern outside the canyon, the smallmouth bass are taken on twin-tail grub on finesse jig heads or Roostertail spinners. Catfishing is best with nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or cut bait.
Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Bob’s Bait Bucket, Bakersfield (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station (559) 542-2816.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 3
The lake continues to drop, and it came down three feet to 674.00 feet in elevation and to 58% from 61%. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported a topwater bite for bass with Whopper Ploppers, Zara Spook Puppies, or Poppers in the early mornings or late afternoons while working the bottom with twin-tailed grubs on the drop-shot or Carolina-rig during the middle of the day. Crappie are taken on minijigs, Keitech swimbaits, or small minnows in Horse Creek while catfishing is best with garlic-scented nightcrawlers, cut bait, or Triple S Dip Baits on a long soak. The lake will be dropping water rapidly within the next few months. The Kaweah River at Three Rivers remains steady at 451 cfs this week.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake held steady at 642.57 feet in elevation and 75%. Cope’s Rod and Tackle in Bakersfield reported action for both bass and crappie have improved. Largemouth bass are taken on crankbaits or on topwater lures such as Poppers or walking-style baits. After early morning, working the bottom with small swimbaits on an underspin or finesse baits is best. Crappie and bluegill are taken on red worms, small live minnows, or minijigs near the the marina and over submerged brush. Catfishing is best with chicken livers or Triple S Dip Bait at night.
Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Sequoia Fishing Co. (559) 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 3
A few bass tournaments are upcoming during September after a lengthy summer break. The best bass bite remains up the river arm with a small window for topwater in the mornings before heading to mid-range with shad patterned crankbaits or spinnerbaits. By mid-morning, working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot has been productive for small spotted bass. There haven’t been many trout trollers, but holdover rainbows are found in the deep water near the dam with shad-patterned spoons such as Kastmasters in black/silver, blue/silver, or Cop Car as the rainbows are feeding heavily on the shad schools. Catfishing remains solid at night along sloping banks with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits. The lake dropped just over 3 feet to 840.70 feet in elevation and 83%.
Call: Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008.
The lake rose once again to 93%. The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 1500 pounds of catchable rainbows on Aug. 16, and trout action was outstanding right after the plant. Since it has been a few weeks, the action has slowed to a crawl with only a few holdovers taken at the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and the peninsula by the marina. Silver/blue or gold Kastmasters, garlic Power Bait, or nightcrawlers are good for a fish or two per rod. Trout plants will continue throughout the fall months prior to the October Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby.
Call: Angler’s Edge Market (209) 226-4416; McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 3 Crappie 2
The lake is receding rapidly, dropping 18.5 feet within two weeks to 544.88 feet in elevation and 72%. Recreational boating remains high, but the lake will empty out after next weekend’s Labor Day Holiday. The bass bite has been tough with a two-limit night tournament from the Fresno Bass Club struggling for limits to 10 pounds at the max. Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The best action is up in the river arm with crankbaits, but the bite has been very sporadic. Catfishing up the river with dip baits or mackerel is most likely the best bet.” Water releases down the San Joaquin have dropped to 387 cfs at Friant. The San Joaquin River from Friant Dam to the Merced County line is open for recreational use. Sycamore Park is open seven days per week.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2
New Melones and Don Pedro have produced the largest kokanee in the state this year with fish pushing and exceeding 3 pounds, but the party is almost over as the fish are well on their way to their attempt to spawn.
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service has been encouraging his clients to switch over to targeting rainbows, and he said, “You can still get a few big kokanee over 3 pounds, but it is quality over quantity. The kokanee have clearly slowed down, but there are a few big ones hugging the bottom at depths from 60 to 80 feet with Apex lures or spinners behind a 5 1/2-inch gold hammered dodger. Fishing at night under lights has been producing limits of big holdover rainbows, and we are anchoring in 80 to 100 feet and dropping down three lights below the surface. Within a few minutes, the shad schools move in, followed by the rainbows. Using either nightcrawlers or live minnows, we put in 5 limits of rainbows on Saturday night.
Richard Kowski of Browns Valley is an accomplished troller at New Melones, and he said, “It’s quality, not quality right now as it is a very tough bite. We found a few kokanee over 3 pounds trolling from 60 to 90 feet at 1.3 to 1.7 MPH with orange Apex lures. What a season it has been, but it’s almost over.”
Bass fishing remains a grind, but working the bottom with plastics remains the top technique as the reaction bite remains slow. It takes going through several fish to land one at 2 pounds, and several more fish to find some in the 3- to 4-pound range. Water releases are in full swing, and the lake has dropped 2 feet to 1047.75 feet in elevation and 81%.
Call: John Liechty, Xperience Fishing Guide Service (209) 743-9932; Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008; Kyle Wise, Headhunter Guide Service (209) 531-3966; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The lake is also releasing water heavily, dropping 9 feet in the past two weeks to 927.91feet in elevation and 87%. Tas Moua of 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle said, “The bite is picking up for bass, trout, and crappie with the best action around Trimmer and Sycamore in the river arm. Bass are found from the banks to 15 feet with some schools deeper from 30 to 40 feet. Jigs or crankbaits are working for the deep fish while there is a topwater bite early or late for the shallow bass.” Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “There have been some quality spotted and largemouth bass ranging from 2 to 4 pounds.” Shad-patterned spoons are working best for trout. The flows on the lower Kings at Trimmer have dropped to 2164 cfs, and there have been some holdover trout taken in the slower water near the shorelines along with a healthy population of spotted bass that have pushed over from the lake’s spillway. A trout plant occurred last week.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 2559) 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
High water conditions in the Sacramento/San Joaquin River watersheds are paying dividends to the striped bass population in San Luis Reservoir and the O’Neill Forebay. Heavy pumping out of the south Delta into both impoundments has been occurring throughout the year, and both reservoirs have been far more full than normal. After peaking at 99 % for several weeks, the main lake has dropped only to 87 %, and steady water releases will take place throughout the fall months. The high water has only lifted up the striped bass action, and both bank anglers and boaters alike are finding quality linesides. Both impoundments along with the California Aqueduct and Delta Mendota Canal provide a relatively low-cost option for anglers from the South Bay and the Central Valley.
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The water flow has been consistent at the big lake, and we are selling lots of anchovies for bank anglers. Most boaters are concentrating around the dam or the Romero Visitor Center as the schools of stripers have been located there. There is an early morning topwater bite with Heddon’s Spooks or River2Sea Whopper Ploppers along with glide baits such as Spro’s KGB’s in bone or threadfin shad patterns. Trollers are doing well with Lucky Craft 128’s, P-Line’s Predator Minnows, or 4.8-inch Keitechs in white. The forebay has been producing limits, but there is less area in which to fish as the grass has taken over the shorelines. The Highway 33 side or under the 152 Bridge have been the clearest areas, and anglers are throwing Keitechs on an underspin, topwater lures, Rat-L-Traps, or soaking anchovies.”
Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “The majority of our tackle sales have been going to San Luis, and Duo Realis jerkbaits have been hard to hold onto. Swimbaits, topwater lures, are the big sellers along with the Megabass Vision 110 +1 jerkbaits. Bank anglers have been walking along Dinosaur Point, and there have been some big stripers taken.”
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service reported that the pumps have been running and that this has improved the dam area bite whether bait, minnow or trolling for school sized fish. “The coming full moon will probably affect the troll bite this week as the fish feed all night and rest all day. “
Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild reported, “San Luis Reservoir is still the hot spot for stripers as there were at least three more 25-pound plus stripers caught this week on glide baits, top water lures, or and 5-inch Keitech swimbaits from the shore. The forebay is starting to get hotter as well with a number of school-sized stripers being caught there.” The forebay has risen slightly to 90%.
To check the wind conditions on the lake use windfinder.com/forecast/san_luis_reservoir.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George, rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
Recreational boating remains high, and it will peak once again over the Labor Day Weekend. Mike Beighey, Bass Lake’s veteran guide, has shut down for the season other than an exploratory occasional trip due to slow trout fishing along with no kokanee for the past two years. Beighey said, “The trout will be found in the upper 28 feet, but you have to find them. I appreciate all the guests who have fished with him this year and I will return next season.” Dick’s Mountain Tubes or Mountain Hoochies behind Rocky Mountain or Dick’s Mountain Dodgers remain the best set up. Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing has also slowed after experiencing a decent reaction bite a few weeks ago. Plastics on the drop-shot are the best option.” The Sierra Bass Club held a tournament with 24 anglers last Saturday with a total of 13 largemouth and 8 spotted bass weighed in for a total weight of just over 41 pounds. The big fish was a largemouth at 3.59 pounds.
A webcam of the launch ramp is available at https://basslakeca.com/.
Call: Mike Beighey, Bass Lake Fishing (559) 676-8133.
The Kaiser Pass lakes are rising, and trout fishing remains solid at both Edison and Florence Lake. Edison has is kicking out multiple browns and rainbows for trollers with the high water level. All the lakes are nearly filled with Edison at 96, Florence at 88, and Mammoth Pool at 98%.
Road conditions (559) 297-0706.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake (559) 259-4000.
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2 Trout 2
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, Shaver’s Guide Emeritus, said, “as the Kokanee Power derby approaches on Sept. 9, the kokanee are biting fairly good, but size is a concern as 2nd year fish in the 11-12-inch range dominate as the larger 13- to 16-inch kokanee remain scarce. The surface temperature has dropped 5 degrees to 69, and the kokanee are unusually shallow at 31 to 33 feet, and they show few signs of turning for the spawn. Orange Dick’s Mountain Tubes behind weighted Mountain Flashers at a setback of 120 feet are effective on side poles while downrigger setup are best with orange Mountain Tubes and Mountain Hoochies tipped with scented corn behind Dick’s Mountain Dodgers in Doc Barb, Captain J and Sun Tea. Trout have been scarce, and Tunnel Creek is the best area for the holdover and catchable rainbows. I fished with Tom Anderson, his daughter Amber Holscher, her husband Ben, and sons Luke and Titus from Fresno on Sunday. The boys hooked probably 30 fish, keeping nearly 3 limits of all kokanee. I am not certain what the issue in the lack of size is, but on the inside, the females have mature eggs partially separated from the skein, and the male has developed sperm sacks. Of the fish, we kept only 2 had no eggs or sperm sacks inside. This is a strange year. Normally, the kokanee male would have prominent snouts. Both males and females would have slick sides with apricot to red in color. They don’t. Normally, we would be fishing down 95 to 100 feet deep. We are not. Sunday morning started with a surface temperature of 69 degrees which is down from 74 two weeks ago.”
Huntington continues to produce a few small kokanee and some small trout, but interest has been waning. A webcam of the Shaver launch ramp is at sierramarina.com/webcam-weather-page.html and for Huntington at http://www.shaverlakewebcams.info/huntington.html. Shaver is at 96 and Huntington at 97%.
Call: Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service (559) 288-8100; Jerad Romero, Jrods Guide Service (559) 392-6994; Tom Oliveira, Tom Oliveira Fishing (559) 802-8072.
Both high elevation lakes have been best for trollers as bank fishing has slowed with the exception of the far side of the lake. The lack of trout plants over the summer months has contributed to the overall slower action for bank anglers. Courtright has been the more productive lake for trollers running speeds from 1.25 to 1.5 mph for rainbows or browns to 14 inches from the dam to the eastern shoreline at depths from 15 to 30 feet with various spinners or spoons in purple or pink. Without recent trout plants and heavy pressure, Wishon has been challenging for both trollers and bank anglers.
Call: Wishon RV Park (559) 865-5361.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 2 Striper 2 Bluefin tuna 3 Halibut 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3
The worst possible outcome at the worst possible time came as another blow to northern California recreational charter boat operators with the closure of nearshore fishing inside of 50 fathoms from Point Conception to the 40/10 line in southern Humboldt County starting Sept. 1. This is following the Aug. 7 closure of quillback rockfish for commercial and recreational fishing, only to be followed a few days later by the nearshore closure of the Northern Groundfish Management Area above the 40/10 line on Aug. 21. Quillback rockfish are a particularly hardy species who survive release more than most rockfish species. They are primarily found in far northern waters at depths from 20 to 50 fathoms and rarely found below Point Conception, but their numbers have been dwindling.
The worst possible scenario for recreational charter boats is a mid-season closure, and with the 2023 salmon closure, the rockfish season opening six weeks later than normal, the first two months of the rockfish season limited to water deeper than 50 fathoms, the closure of Pacific halibut due to reaching the quota earlier than normal, the reduction of the halibut daily bag limit from three to two, and the likely closure of white sturgeon in 2024, charter boats are already running as little as 30% of normal. The nearshore rockfish closure in September could be a final blow to a number of charter operators as crab/rockfish combination trips will be limited to ports with a reasonable access to deep water. The San Francisco Bay charter operators will be forced to head up to 38 miles offshore to find deep water over 50 fathoms, and this will leave little time for an industry that has already adapted to the labor-intensive requirement of hoop nets.
Bluefin tuna were the rage over the previous weekend as over 30 big tuna were reported from the area near the Half Moon Bay Weather Buoy. There have been bluefin estimated at 250 pounds landed by boats trolling Nomad Design’s Madmacs at speeds from 12 to 15 knots. The action dried up over the past weekend despite several boats launching and making the run out to as many as 70 miles offshore. The weather rose back up again, but there will be boats out there searching upon the next weather window. Along the coastline, limits of rockfish and a handful of ling cod are the rule, but the nearshore rockfish season less than 50 fathoms will close on Sept. 1, and this will hamper the ability for crab/rockfish combination trips starting the first Saturday in November.
Call: Captain Michael Cabanas, New Captain Pete (510) 677-7054; Captain Chris Chang, Ankeny Street (650) 279-8819; Captain Bill Smith, Riptide (650) 728-8433; Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, Queen of Hearts (510) 581-2628
Rockfish 3 Bluefin tuna 3 Halibut 2 Striper 3 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3
Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surf Casting Guide Service said, “Monterey Bay area anglers continued to make the best of things this week despite confusing weather patterns, fish movements and upcoming government regulation changes. Warm tuna water continues to hold steady offshore and conditions have allowed more boats to get out to the grounds on the hunt for bluefin or albacore. No albacore were reported caught in the past week, but a number of the smaller tuna-like Bonita were caught in the middle of the bay by anglers working the deep canyon in front of Moss Landing. Other bonita were reported from the Monterey area, closer to shore. A few bluefin tuna were reeled in by fishermen working the “Fingers” area about ten miles offshore rom Davenport.
Additional bluefin catches were reported by boats launching from Half Moon Bay to fish the weather buoy area. Captain Tom Joseph from Fish On Sportfishing took a couple clients out on Saturday and hit the jackpot. “Today we fished tuna out of Half Moon Bay and our two-man charter boated one bluefin weighing 178 pounds,” Joseph was happy to report. On Tuesday Joseph struck again, bringing home a 50-pound tuna with his clients of the day. An additional exotic report came from private boater Dave Roncarati who was fishing near the Davidson Seamount and dropped jigs down to some “big fish marks” about 150 feet down.
Roncarati and crew pulled in a rare Opah, or moonfish. The weather forecast looks promising for offshore fishing over the weekend. Hopefully we’ll see some more tuna action while these water conditions last. Deepwater rockfishing is still going very strong. Quick limits and quality fish have been the watchwords for the entire season. J.T. Thomas on the Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz reported this week saying, “The rock cod bite continues to be hot. Our clients had early limits of big rock fish including yellow tail, green spots, Boccaccio, widows and vermillion.” Nearshore fishing also remains productive with plenty of browns, blacks, blues and lingcod caught from local reefs near Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey and Santa Cruz. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife posted last week an “in season change” for nearshore rockfishing. DFW announced, “Newly available recreational data from the Mendocino, San Francisco and Central GMAs (Groundfish Management Areas) for the second week of August showed double the estimated recreational take and indicated the 2023 quillback rockfish harvest limit specified in federal regulations has been exceeded.” As a response, the DFW is closing nearshore rockfishing early this year.
As of Sept. 1, “Shelf rockfish, slope rockfish and lingcod may be taken seaward of the 50-fathom boundary line. Surfcasters are seeing an improvement all around the bay as baitfish move closer to shore and the sandcrab population swells. Perch are getting bigger and more numerous, and the larger-variety stripers are making an appearance as well. The big bass seem to be slowly filtering into the areas north of Moss Landing. Quite a few stripers in the 20-pound class or larger were caught this week by anglers working the beaches from Pajaro to Santa Cruz.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting (831) 251-9732.
Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
Deepwater rockfishing near the Farallon Islands, Fanny Shoals, or Rittenburg Bank remain tremendous with limits of rockfish and lingcod to 27 pounds possible. The California Dawn 2 has been finding great fishing by taking the 38-mile run out the Golden Gate to Rittenburg Bank for limits of huge lingcod and rockfish. When the weather cooperates, halibut action outside of the Gate on the North Bar or coastal beaches is solid, and there are some white sea bass hanging out along the coast. September is one of the best weather months in the ocean. The nearshore rockfish season less than 50 fathoms will close on Sept. 1, and this will hamper the ability for crab/rockfish combination trips starting the first Saturday in November.
Halibut limits were the rule over the past week inside the Central Bay near Berkeley with live bait. The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina put in 10 limits of halibut by 10:45 a.m. on Sunday. Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco loaded the box with six limits of halibut in the central bay before heading over to San Pablo Bay to chum up some stripers on the anchor. Striped bass are holding in San Pablo Bay, and it is matter of setting out some chum to attract the lineside. The majority are a small, legal grade, but there have been fish to 10 pounds landed. The fall bite in San Pablo Bay looks very promising. Leopard shark are an option on the anchor in the south bay with salmon bellies or midshipmen.
Smith will host Western Outdoor News coastal combination trip on Oct. 13 on the California Dawn 2 with a Diawa giveaway packed with hooks, leader, and Costa swag along with assorted jackpot prizes. To sign up - https://wonews.com/charters/.
Call: Captain Ron Koyasako, Nautilus Excursions (916) 704-4169; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Similar to the other ports in northern California, the nearshore rockfish season will end on Sept. 1 above Point Conception, forcing boats out of Morro Bay to either fish nearshore below Point Conception or deep water of 50 fathoms or more. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor was on a full day trip on Sunday with 25 passengers for limits of rockfish composed of 100 vermilion rockfish for sub-limits, 70 Boccaccio, and 80 assorted rockfish. The Avenger and Starfire were out on ½- to 3/4th-day trips respectively, for a combined 124 vermilion, 209 assorted, and 47 Boccaccio for 51 passengers. The Black Pearl, Fiesta, and Rita G out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay were on trips ranging from ½- to 3/4th -day on Sunday with a combined 77 anglers for 515 assorted, 70 vermilion, 2 cabezon, a halibut, a copper rockfish, and and 5 lingcod. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Flying Fish and Patriot were out on Sunday on ½-day trips with 45 passengers for 13 vermilion, 3 Bolina, 296 assorted rockfish, a Petrale sole, and a 7-pound lingcod. Webcams of many of the coastal locations are available at https://805webcams.com/. Rockfish season is open all depths through Sept. 30 in the Central Management Area while the Southern Management Area before Point Conception ends on Sept. 15.
Call: Virg’s Landing (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Morro Bay Landing.
Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3
Striped bass are showing a rapid improvement in both the San Joaquin and Sacramento Delta as the linesides are coming and going – heading downstream from the upper rivers as well as running upstream from San Francisco Bay and from outside the Golden Gate. Largemouth bass fishing remains a grind, but the best action remains in the clearer waters of the north Delta. The reemergence of sea lions along with heavy herbicide spraying are affecting the bite in the east Delta sloughs. Despite the recent improvement, the largemouth bass bite is far from what is expected at this time of year. Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors reported the best quality remains up north working the flats with chatterbaits or spinnerbaits for quality bass to 4 pounds. He said, “You can put together a solid limit when you are finding 4-pound fish, and the chatterbaits or spinnerbaits are the best thing going.”
Borges partnered with Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, during the past weekend’s West Coast Bass Cat Owners Open, and they came in with a less-than-anticipated limit at 11.09 pounds. The winning weight was only 18.59 pounds with a big fish at 5.90 despite some of the best anglers showing up for the event.
Alan Fong of Alan Fong Outdoors has been finding excellent largemouth action in the shallow flats of the north Delta by tossing chatterbaits or flipping the tules. He said, “We used both techniques about half the time, and we put in a 20-pound limit as the bite is slowly starting to crack open. We also landed striped bass on chatterbaits, and the action along the West Bank for stripers has been excellent for trollers as well as those casting 5-inch swimbaits in shad patterns.”
Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo Sport Fishing out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley is back on the Delta on weekends, and he said, “We found an excellent grade of stripers from 8 to 10 pounds this past week, but the fish were a bit smaller over the weekend. All but one of our fish on Saturday were legal, but the size was smaller than what we have been experiencing. There is a good run of stripers coming up river along with those heading back down so we can intercept them coming or going. There is no live bait available, so we are either trolling or spoons. We are starting to see some big schools forming, and they are responding to the spoons. I had some live bluegill, but the witch’s hair grass was so thick, that we couldn’t drift the live bait. Deep trolling on the Sacramento side has been our best bet, but if the grass is too thick on the outgoing tide, we will switch over to shallow trolling. The San Joaquin side is loaded with grass, and this has made trolling these waters difficult. We will stay trolling until live bait is available.”
In the east Delta, Dave King of Nor Cal Bass found great conditions for numbers of largemouth bass in the east Delta the previous weekend, but the action slowed to a crawl this weekend. He said, “I found a pattern last week, and I thought it would stay consistent this weekend, but it was a tough bite. I like to fish in Mosher Slough as well as some of the other sloughs west of Stockton, and heavy herbicide spraying in Mosher has killed all of the vegetation, the tules, and even the plants on the banks. Nothing was green in the slough as the spraying seems to be indiscriminate. There was no bait in Pixley, Bear Creek, or Mosher Sloughs, but the bait was thick around Paradise Point. We went all over from Tower Park to Herman and Helen’s for only five keepers weighing around 11 pounds. There were also three sea lions swimming up and down the banks, and there was nothing left on the banks where we loaded up last weekend.”
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors (209) 918-0828
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 0 Catfish 3 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2 Trout 1
At Nacimiento, water releases have started, and the lake continues its drop to 73%. The best action bass action remains in the early mornings with Keitech swimbaits, plastics on the drop-shot or Ned-rig along with grubs and tubes. White bass continue to boil on occasion, and white Kastmasters or white grubs are the key for the whites. Catfishing is best with Triple S Dip Bait, anchovies, or fresh shrimp. A webcam of the lake is available at https://805webcams.com/lake-nacimiento-live-webcam/. Lopez Lake dropped slightly to 98.1%, but it is basically still full. Finesse presenations remains best with plastics on the drop-shot, Ned-rig, dart head, or split-shot along with Brush Hawgs on a slow presentation. Tournament action will start soon at all of the coastal lakes. Anglers can view a live webcam of the lake at https://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Santa Margarita, flooded vegetation remains the key with jerkbaits, chatterbaits, or topwater lures. The lake is releasing water, and it dropped slightly to 93.0%. A webcam of the lake is available at https://805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california. At San Antonio, the lake held at 68%. With the high water, the bass are spread out throughout the lake, but a pattern can be developed with search baits such as jerkbaits or underspins. Catfishing remains best with chicken liver, mackerel soaked in garlic scent, or Triple S Dip Baits.
Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.
Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club Swap Meet on Huntington’s Mile Long Block Sale on the corner of Huntington Boulevard and 6th Street, 7 a.m.- to 2 p.m. Come out and support the Bass Fishers!
City of Gustine Kid’s Fishing Derby at the Duck Pond
Striperz Gone Wild Three-Year Anniversary ‘Fall Classic’ Striper Derby - 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Hilldale Bridge with a BBQ, 50/50 raffle, and prizes in the adult and youth divisions.
Delta/Russo’s Marina – West Coast Bass Cat Owners Tournament – Aug. 26: 1st – Greg Guttierez/Roger Brewer – 18.59 (2nd Big Fish – 5.79); 2nd – Joey and Jeff Price – 17.17; 3rd – Michael Chen/Joe Alvarez – 16.58
Upcoming tournaments (dates and locations subject to change)
Delta/Ladd’s Bertolli Disposal Wednesday Night Shoot Out
Santa Margarita – Orange County Bass Club
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Kings River Bass Club
Tulloch – Kings VIII Bass Club
Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments
Delta/B and W Resort – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
New Melones – Bass Anglers of Northern California
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Nor Cal Bass Club
Delta/Contra Costa – Sierra Bass Club
Amador – American Bass Association
New Hogan – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies
New Melones – Sonora Bass Club
Kaweah – Golden Empire Bass Club
Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers/Bakersfield Bass Club
Santa Margarita – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Pyramid Lake – Kern County Bassmasters
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Riverbank Bass Anglers
Tulloch – Stanislaus County Sheriff
Santa Margarita - American Bass Association
New Melones – El Dorado Bass
Don Pedro – Nor Cal Bass
McClure – Christian Bass League
Isabella – American Bass Association
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker
Lake Camanche – Gold Country Bass Tour
New Melones – Fresno Bass Club
Don Pedro – 17/90 Bass Club
Nacimiento – Cope’s Bait and Tackle
Delta/Contra County – East County Student Anglers
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – 17/90 Bass Club
For more go to fresnobee.com/fishing.